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California Homelessness: New Policies To Address An Intractable Problem

Wednesday, June 22, 2022
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The Hoover Institution Economic Policy Working Group invites you to a panel discussion, California Homelessness: New Policies to Address an Intractable Problem, with Lee Ohanian, Kevin Kiley, and Michael Shellenberger.

This virtual event brings together three experts on California’s homelessness crisis to focus on understanding why this problem continues to worsen, despite spending record amounts every year, and on how alternative policies will reduce homelessness and more broadly improve the quality-of-life for all Californians.

The event will be structured as a panel discussion, moderated by Hoover Senior Fellow Lee E. Ohanian, who writes frequently about California homelessness in his weekly Hoover column, “California on Your Mind”. His columns focus on understanding why the more we spend, the more homeless we have, and how we must change policies, ranging from opioid abuse tolerance to affordable housing business costs, to make progress.

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley (R, Rocklin) is one of our panelists, and who is one of the state legislators who created the Republican Legislative Caucus’s plan consisting of 15 new bills to address homelessness. These ideas range from conducting data analytics to understand just who the homeless are, where they live, and how many have mental health and substance abuse problems, to reforming existing state laws to reduce the cost of building new housing, which currently exceeds $1,000 per square foot for cookie-cutter studio apartment units. Kevin is one of the young leaders within the Republican party. He has fought continuously to reverse AB 5, which makes it illegal for some Californians to work as an independent contractor, and he has written several commonsense Assembly bills to reduce living costs in the state, including suspending the State’s gasoline tax to address our extremely high gasoline prices.

Gubernatorial candidate and author Michael Shellenberger is our other panelist. Michael’s recent book San Fransicko: Why Progessives Ruin Cities has been on the bestseller list since its publication last year. The book powerfully and persuasively describes how well-intentioned policies, such as San Francisco’s willingness to tolerate illegal drug use and its refusal to prosecute drug-related crimes is damaging the city beyond recognition.

A review summarized the book’s theme as follows:

Progressives have embraced 'victimology,' a belief system wherein society’s downtrodden are subject to no rules or consequences for their actions. This ideology, cultivated in cities like San Francisco for decades and widely adopted over the past two years, is the key to understanding, and thus solving, our crises of homelessness, drug overdoses and crime.

This unique event will highlight how and why California has gone off track in addressing one of California’s most important issues and will show how California can constructively and humanely address this issue with new ideas. The first hour will be devoted to the panel discussion, followed by 15-20 minutes of Q&A.